Federal

Rhee Would Feel ‘Responsible’ if Mayor Not Re-Elected

By Dakarai I. Aarons — November 16, 2009 1 min read
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District of Columbia Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee says she would feel “very responsible” if Mayor Adrian Fenty didn’t win re-election next year.

Rhee made the comment during a question and answer panel on Friday, The Washington Post reports. Fenty, a former city councilman who is in his first term as mayor, made the city’s beleaguered school system his first priority when he took office in 2007, successfully lobbying his former colleagues to give him control of the school system. Fenty has said he’s told other city department heads to give Rhee whatever she needs to make improvements.

“The decisions we have made...were not always things that would guarantee harmony among adults,” Rhee told the audience at Bloomberg’s invitation-only Washington Summit, which drew CEOs, elected officials and other bold-faced names.

The hard-charging chancellor’s reforms have made her a national star in and out of education policy circles, but have caused some heartburn at home. Rhee and Fenty have found themselves locked in a battle with the city council after she laid off more than 300 teachers and other school staff members last month. The action escalated tensions with the unions, led to student protests and hours of council hearings.

Even as the pair has faced criticism, Rhee says her boss told her "... if I’m not re-elected then we’ll go down in history as the only administration that made every decision in what we believed to be the best interests of children instead of what was in the best interests of getting re-elected.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.


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